Stories You Need To Know # 9
As per a legend associated with this avatar, Lord Shiva appeared as a bull to kill the sons born to Lord Vishnu and the Patala Loka women. Lord Vishnu’s sons caused destruction, and hence at Lord Brahma’s behest, Lord Shiva appeared as Rishabha to save creation.
Rishabha is one of the twenty-four avatars of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana. Some scholars state that this avatar is the same as the first Tirthankara of Jainism. Shaiva texts like Linga Purana appropriated Tirthankar Rishabhdeva as an avatar of Lord Shiva because his sign is bull and his nirvana place is mountain Ashtapad and the 1008 names of lord Shivas are the same as Rishabhdeva. Rishabha is also found in Vedic literature, where it means the “bull” and is an epithet for Rudra (Shiva).
According to John E. Cort and other scholars, there is considerable overlap between Jain and Hindu Vaishnava traditions in western parts of India, with Hindus adopting Jain sacred figures in Hindu texts like Rishabha and his son Bharata.
In Jainism, it is believed that Lord Rishabhadev is the same as King Ikshvaku.
Lord Shiva had taken many incarnations to destroy the demons, the same Vrishabha avatar was taken by Shiva to kill Vishnu’s sons. Let us know why Lord Shiva needed the destruction of Vishnu’s sons.
Legend of Shiva’s Vrishabha Avatar
When the nectar urn was born after churning the ocean, Shri Hari Vishnu created many Apsaras with his illusion to save it from the eyes of the demons. The demons were fascinated by the Apsaras and took them forcibly and took them to Hades. When they came back to get the nectar after making them captive there, all the gods had consumed the nectar.
When the demons came to know about this incident, they again attacked the gods. But by drinking the nectar, the gods had become immortal. So the demons had to face defeat. To protect himself, he started running toward Hades. With the intention of killing the demons, Shri Hari Vishnu followed them to the underworld and destroyed all the demons there.
Apsaras became free as soon as the demons were destroyed. When she saw Sri Hari Vishnu having a lovely idol, she became enamored with him and asked Lord Shiva for a boon to make Sri Hari Vishnu his master. Lord Shiva is always ready to fulfill the wishes of his devotees, so he asked Shri Hari Vishnu to forget all his religions and duties and live in Hades with Apsaras.
Shri Hari Vishnu started residing in Hades. He also got some sons from Apsaras but those sons were of demonic nature. On the strength of their cruelty, these sons of Shri Hari Vishnu created a ruckus in the three worlds. Disturbed by his atrocities, all the deities appeared before Lord Shiva and requested him to kill the sons of Shri Hari Vishnu.
In order to free the gods from the terror of Vishnu’s sons, Lord Shiva reached the Hades in the form of a bull i.e. ‘Taurushabh’, and went there and killed all the sons of Lord Vishnu. Then Shri Hari Vishnu came and saw the destruction of the dynasty, he got angry and attacked Lord Shiva in the form of Taurus, but all his attacks were in vain.
It is believed that Shiva and Vishnu were the forms of Shankar Narayan, so even after the war for a long time, neither of the two suffered any loss nor any gain. In the end, the Apsaras who had tied Sri Hari Vishnu in their boon freed them. After this incident, when Shri Hari Vishnu realized this incident, he praised Lord Shiva.
At the behest of Lord Shiva, Shri Hari Vishnu returned to Vishnulok. Before leaving, he left his Sudarshan Chakra in Hades. When he reached Vishnuloka, there he received another Sudarshan Chakra from Lord Shiva.
Om Namah Shivae